MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Rave situation: Owners, players deliver

Rave situation: Owners, players deliver

IRVING, Texas -- Who won? That's the easy part. No need to bother with fine print.

We win. That means you. Me, too. Yep, all of us.

Win? Yeah. Big time.

In the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday evening, baseball delivered a walk-off double in the gap, a 100-mph heater at the knees, a dazzling rookie, a savvy veteran. However you want to frame it, this was a victory for everyone.

That's how it felt at 7:40 p.m. CT when a couple of tense days ended with an assortment of players, owners, lawyers and staffers pouring from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

Just like that, 36 nerve-wracking, exhausting hours of nearly round-the-clock negotiations were over.

We all won.

Yes, there'll be more work as Major League Baseball's new Collective Bargaining Agreement is put into writing and as final details are worked out.

This is it, though. No work stoppage. No interruption of anything.

Leave those Hot Stoves on. Where is Edwin Encarnacion going anyway? Will the White Sox trade Chris Sale?

This gets us back to what's important at a time of the year we love. When baseball delivers hope, debate or some combination of the two.

Justice on tentative CBA deal

In the end, the owners and players did the only thing that makes sense. They kept riding the wave.

Sure, they tweaked a few things, changing a tax here and a compensation system there.

There were no dramatic changes, but none was needed. What they didn't do was interrupt the game.

They understood that Major League Baseball has never been better than it is right now and that a work stoppage simply made no sense.

Winners? That would be the players, who've seen their average salary rise to $4.4 million.

Winners? That would be owners, who have revenues approaching $10 billion and attendance topping 73 million.

Winners? That would be the fans, thanks to more competitive balance than ever before.

Morosi on tentative deal

Now we're assured of never missing a second of Francisco Lindor or Mike Trout, Kris Bryant or Jose Altuve.

We get our summer evenings in Cleveland and our packed houses in Toronto. We get Fenway Park and AT&T Park, too.

We get to see if the Cubs can defend their World Series championship, if the young Rockies are the real deal.

That's what we won and what those handshakes symbolized.

Players and owners negotiated until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, took a few hours off, then went back to the bargaining table.

Suddenly, negotiations that had moved like molasses for months suddenly soared to the finish line as the end of the current agreement approached at 12:01 a.m. ET today.

They were not going to risk what they have. When it was over, neither side got everything it had hoped for.

Sanchez on tentative CBA

The owners didn't get the international draft they'd sought, but the players didn't get a complete end to Draft-pick compensation.

Isn't that the definition of a successful negotiation? Anyway, when they returned to work Wednesday, it was all done with a different gear.

Owners and players met separately, then together. Then they did it again and again.

Players came and went, Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs, Curtis Granderson of the Mets and others.

So did owners -- Mark Attanasio of the Brewers, Bill DeWitt Jr. of the Cardinals and Ron Fowler of the Padres.

At several points, Dan Halem, Major League Baseball's chief legal officer, huddled in the hallway with Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Rosenthal on obstacles to CBA

On Monday, some pessimism started to creep in. But beginning on Tuesday, both sides zeroed in on finding common ground on a myriad of issues.

This five-year agreement will run through the 2021 season. By then, baseball will have had 26 years of labor peace.

In the first 21 years of that peace, the sport has soared to places many thought it would never go.

There's more to come thanks to Commissioner Rob Manfred and an ambitious agenda that includes international growth, technology and youth initiatives.

As great is the game is today, there's still more out there.

But that's not what anyone was thinking on Wednesday evening when the celebration of a new deal began.

That was simply a recognition of how far the game had come and how important it is to so many people.

"This was 17 months of work," Granderson said. "But we got it done."

Indeed, they did.

We win.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.